* China forecast growth fastest, to leap-frog U.S.
* Electric vehicles strongest technology
LONDON, Sept 6 The world's low-carbon energy
market is likely to treble by 2020, HSBC analysts forecast on
Monday, saying that rising concerns about resource scarcity
would support broad consensus on the threat of climate change.
The electric vehicle market would benefit most, growing more
than 20 times by 2020 to reach $473 billion, said HSBC's "Sizing
the climate economy" report.
Climate policy has faced headwinds including faltering U.N.
climate talks to agree a post-2012 successor to the Kyoto
Protocol and repeated Senate setbacks to a U.S. climate bill.
But mounting pressure on land, water and energy as a result
of growth in emerging economies and world population will add
momentum towards a more efficient "climate economy", the bank
"A new climate is starting to emerge, driven as much by
resource scarcity and industrial innovation as by the raw
realities of global warming," the HSBC report said.
A market in low-carbon energy and efficiency technologies
will at least double to $1.5 trillion from $740 billion now, but
HSBC analysts expected that it would more likely treble to $2.2
trillion, implying global annual market growth of 7-11 percent
By region, the market will grow fastest in China, which will
leap-frog the United States but still trail the European Union,
which has set itself tough renewable energy, emissions and
efficiency targets to 2020.
"In the EU we expect renewable but not energy efficiency
targets to be met; in the United States we project limited
growth in clean energy; and in China, we expect current targets
for clean energy to be exceeded," the report said.
The dominant sector shift would be to efficiency
technologies such as building insulation and electric cars,
which would overtake low-carbon energy technologies such as
wind, solar and nuclear power.
Renewable energy is the biggest low carbon sector now, and
revenues would grow at 9.4 percent annually to a market size of
more than $500 billion by 2020 but still lag transport
efficiency at nearly $700 billion in 10 years' time after 18
percent annual growth.
A low-carbon energy economy requires higher upfront costs,
for example in insulation or expensive wind turbines. That has
led to doubts that targets will be met given spending
constraints following the financial crisis.
But low-carbon technologies also cut operating costs by
saving on energy or using free, renewable sources.
Under what it called the "conviction" scenario, which HSBC
says is most likely, annual capital investment would grow from
an annualised $460 billion in 2010 to $1.5 trillion in 2020.
New funding models would be required to meet this,
especially where investment was from the household sector as for
example to purchase electric vehicles or upgrade housing.